Heaven (Heaven, #1)

ISBN: 0689822901
ISBN 13: 9780689822902
By: Angela Johnson John Jude Palencar

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African American Battle Of The Books Currently Reading Fiction Realistic Fiction Series Teen To Read Ya Young Adult

About this book

Marley has lived in Heaven since she was two years old, when her mother found a postcard postmarked HEAVEN, OH on a park bench and decided that was where she wanted to raise her family. And for twelve years, Marley's hometown has lived up to its name. She lives in a house by the river, has loving parents, a funny younger brother, good friends, and receives frequent letters from her mysterious Uncle Jack. Then one day a letter arrives form Alabama, and Marley's life is turned upside down. Marley doesn't even know who she is anymore -- but where can she go for answers, when she's been deceived by the very people she should be able to trust the most?

Reader's Thoughts


A fast, good read. My kids really like this one, especially those who also read First Part Last. They like knowing that Feather and her dad are alright. As usual, Johnson manages to pack quite a punch in a fairly short book. She had me crying!


Heaven By: Angela JohnsonReport by: Gracie S.Q1 #4Overall main character: MarleySupporting characters: Uncle Jack, Momma, Poppa, and ButchyButchy- Main Characters younger brother, Protagonist: MarleyAntagonist: Uncle jackSetting: Heaven, OHPlot:Marley the main character in the book “Heaven” has always had an easy life you could say. She has a securing, nice lovable family in Heaven, OH, where she lived with momma, Pops and her brother Butchy. Marley has an uncle Jack who she receives and writes letters back to all the time. Marley had always been writing letters and receiving letters from Uncle Jack, but one day a letter came, a letter unlike any others. The letter turned her smile upside down and her life in a completely new direction. The letter from uncle jack said that he was her real father, her mother had died in a car crash, and the people that are so called “Momma and Pops” aren’t really her real parents. I know I wouldn’t be happy if someone else told I that they have been hiding it from me all along that my uncle is my ACTUAL dad. So either was she, Marley had a hard time wrapping her mind around all the lies, and the life she was meant to live. She doesnt know where she belongs in the world after a life-changing event like that. But after all those lies should she even believe that? After knowing a summary what happened in the start of the book don’t you want to know the rest of the book of how she deals with an extremely dramatic life-changing event? Tensions will grow, in times like this who will she turn to, the person that sent her off to like with her aunt at a very young age having no remembrance of her parents and the life she was suppose to live or the person the lied to her for quite some time and tricked her into believing they were her biological parents? Obviously no boom just stops there, will she live in Heaven or will she go with her dad, I know but I’m not a spoiler, so I guess you will just have to read to find out!Star Rating:***** out of *****Conclusion:Like I said I would rate this book high, five out of five stars. I really enjoyed the book Heaven because it’s easy to feel bad for the main character Marley, because of the life-changing event. You know how hard it would be on you to be told that your perfect like wasn’t so perfect at all. That the people you called family, the people that you called mommy and daddy were just a lie to make you feel like every thing was ok. This is why I find it easy to feel bad for her and connect with the story, not just that because I know someone who was told that they were adopted at a late age and how it was hard on them. I would recommend it to just about anyone that is old enough to read a chapter book. I think that there is a good chance they would find it relatable too. I think over all this was definitely a good choice my favorite thing about this book is how the author builds the suspense.


When Marley's mother was younger, long before Marley was born, she found a postcard marked Heaven, OH. She knew she would live there. And that's exactly where Marley has been raised. She's lived in Heaven her entire life. And it's great. She has friends and family that are great to her. She has everything she's ever wanted. But then she must move to Alabama and have her life turned upside down... I gave this book 2 stars because it was really just O.K. I didn't really like the characters.It was all just boring to me. A very average book.


Marley has lived in Heaven since she was 2 years old with her mom, her dad and her brother Butchy. She writes to her Uncle Jack who travels around the country with his dog Boy, and whom she has never met, at least that she can remember. Suddenly her life is turned upside down. A letter arrives from Alabama and Marley learns that not only are her parents not her parents but Marley is not her name. Confused Marley goes to seek answers,but she doesn't know where to go as those that she trusted and thought she could go to have been lying to her the most. Marley's best friend Shoogy tries to help her as best as she can, even though Shoogy has enough of her own problems with her perfect family and she being the outcast. Marley also seeks guidance from Bobby, the boy who recently moved to Heaven from New York with his daughter Feather to raise her right, but Bobby is young and confused himself at times with life, though he tries his best to raise his daughter and help out Marley as only he can.This was a well written book by Angela Johnson. The writing was a little confusing at times with the tense or wording that the author was trying to convey, but overall was a great read.

Nancy Chaffin

Marley, the main character, lives in Heaven, Ohio and her life is heaven in the beginning of the story. She loves her family and shares sweet stories of family bonding at home and on road trips. One of my favorite stories is of a family trip to Cleveland to see “the museums, fireworks, and a rib-burn-off.” She has two good friends named Shoogy and Bobby and, though their lives are not perfect, they enjoy one another’s company and feel comfortable with each other. One of Marley’s responsibilities is wiring money to her Uncle Jack on a regular basis. Jack is a wanderer who travels the United States with his dog and she has never met him. Marley’s perfect existence comes to a halt one day when she learns the truth about herself and her family and the remainder of the book documents her pain as she comes to grips with her less than perfect circumstances. Her family and friends stay close to her as she lashes out in pain and seeks to understand. This book provided insights into a young girl's feelings as she wrestled with an unsettling truth. As it is a time of physical and emotional change, it is little wonder that such news would be devastating. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to young adults.


"Heaven" by Angela Johnson(from the back cover)At fourteen, Marley knows she has Momma's hands and Pops's love for ice cream, that her brother doesn't get on her nerves too much, and that Uncle Jack is a big mystery. Happy in her loving family in the caring community of Heaven, Ohio, Marley doesn't know all she thinks she does. And when the truth comes down with the rain one stormy summer afternoon, it changes everything. It turns Momma and Pops into lairs. It makes her brother a stranger and her Uncle Jack an even bigger mystery. All of a sudden, Marley doesn't know who she is anymore and can only turn to the family she no longer trusts to find out.Wonderful book about growing up in a little country town. Marley's world is about to come unraveled. What she thought was her family is about to change, but will it really change? Through all this Marley has some friends to help her along the way. There is Shoogy Maple who lives the perfect life with her perfect family, only everything isn't perfect with Shoogy. There is Bobby Morris and his baby Feather, who Marley babysits, but Marley doesn't know much about the life Bobby left in New York. Through all of this Marley has to figure out who her family really is. I don't want to tell you the mystery, because this would give away the whole plot of the book. It's an easy read and moves along pretty fast.


I have used The First Part Last, another novel by Johnson, as a class read in the past. The students loved it so much that I only have a few copies remaining in the classroom. I think this novel would be a little more difficult for my students to connect with. The setting is a little distant for them. However, I do like that Johnson brings in the main character from her other novel; Bobby. Also, the main conflict is one my students would find interesting. I only worry about the motivation at the beginning of the novel.


Marley is happy with her seemingly perfect life in Heaven, OH. She has good friends and a loving family. Until the letter arrives. Now it seems that her parents aren't really her parents, her brother is her cousin, and her real father is Uncle Jack, a man she can't remember who only sends her letters. Now Marley must figure out how she fits into this new family.

Jaclyn Giordano

** spoiler alert ** “Even though some of the stories will hurt my hear and sometimes make me afraid of losing more of what I have; I want her to know that it’s been a fine life, for a girl like me, in Heaven.” Heaven is a chapter book intended for students in grades three through 6. I gave Heaven four stars because of its brutally honest and eye-opening story line of finding out that one’s parents aren’t really one’s parents after all. Family and life, love and trust can turn upside-down in one instant. Angela Johnson’s book is both sad and empowering. It can really connect to students who are searching for their identities, amongst those who are their family by blood and who are their family by bond. Set in the serene, yet kooky town of Heaven, Ohio, this text allows the reader to see deep into the heart of one teenage girl. The reader may even see themselves in the main character of Marley, as she could be your best friend, one who babysits, eats ice cream, stares up at the stars, and goes to the beach. Readers will be truly enthralled as the story unfolds. This text challenges and makes the reader think of the true definitions of love and family. Its commonplace setting and characters, with its heart-wrenching problems and situations, lets the reader see themselves in it. True to life, true to a teenager. It’s a metaphor for finding yourself and your identity amongst simplicity and then chaos, a text that any human can truly connect to.


Heaven is the story of a young girl who learns a secret about her past that shakes the foundations of her identity. I picked this up the day after I read The First Part Last because I tore through that book so quickly and I needed another dose of Johnson's writing. The main character of that book makes a few appearances in Heaven and helps the main character navigate her new place in her world. I finished this the same day I purchased it.


Marley is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives with her parents and older brother in Heaven, Ohio, a small town where everyone gets along and there isn't any crime. She hangs out with a former beauty queen who turned self-abusive because of the pressure, and a dreadlocked single dad from New York. She babysits his daughter, Feather, and learns about life from him and her friend Shoogy, the former beauty queen. Marley finds out that she's adopted, and her world turns upside-down. This book talks a lot about what makes a family as Marley tries to figure out who her family really is. I loved learning along with Marley and Johnson is wonderful at drawing the reader in to Marley's struggle.

Kayna Olsen

Marley is 14 and has a wonderful life in Heaven. Heaven, Ohio that is; she is quite alive. She loves her Momma and Pops and even her little brother Butchy. Marley exchanges letters with her Uncle Jack frequently while wiring him money through the local Washington Mutual. Even though she writes him so much she has never seen him except for when she was really little. One day, as a result of churches being burned to the ground, Marley learns the truth about everyone; her Uncle Jack, Momma, Pops, and the truth she never knew about herself.This was a well written story that tells about a young girl discovering what it is that really matters and the people that make up a family. I really liked how everything was handled and presented in this novel. Marley was confused but she learned a lot about trusting people and not letting one instant change your view of them for ever. I got a little bit confused when the truth came out almost like I had missed something and who they were talking about, but I pretty quickly figured it out.

Kelli Stephenson

This book was highly discussed and praised in my recent children's literature class, so I gave it a try. I would almost give it 3 stars because it was short, if it had been longer it would have gotten really boring. If your middle schooler ever forgets to do a book report, this is like a 2-3 hour read (it does say "hell" 3-4 times). It was interesting, but nothing really captivating or jaw dropping.

Jesycca Cousineau

Marley was a fourteen year-old who thought everything in her life was perfect. She lived in an idealistic small town called Heaven, had a loving family, and had good friends. Then her world turned upside down when she learned that her parents were not her real parents and that the man she believed was her uncle were her actual father. The book recounted her struggles as she tried to readjust her life and learn about herself again.For me, this book didn't quite make the mark. I was expecting a good story, but all I got out was a whole lot of "huh?" The book was not written clearly, and I got confused from time to time. It was good, just not that good.

Linda Lipko

When 12 year old Marley discovers that she is adopted, her perception of who she is and the parents who raised her is turned upside down.Learning that her uncle is her biological father, she struggles to define truth.This book is well written and the characters are all very likeable. I didn't feel the issues were depicted as in depth as they should/could have been.

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